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Closing the door on scam mail

Date: 12/02/2008           Category: Community Safety

Medway residents are being asked to help in the battle against scam mail, which affects an estimated three million people a year. Medway Trading Standards has joined forces with the Office Of Fair Trading (OFT) to stop letterboxes being blighted by promises of money, fake competition prizes and holidays from bogus companies. Anyone who receives these types of letters and emails, as well as ones promising miracle health cures and get-rich-quick schemes can drop them into ‘Scamnesty’ collection points at Medway’s 16 libraries, the Civic and Compass centres, Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre, Dockside Outlet Centre and the Pentagon Shopping Centre. All letters handed in will be examined by Medway Trading Standards and the OFT to help prevent others from becoming a victim of scam mailings, which are usually sent from international addresses. The OFT will also investigate People who also receive telephone calls from bogus companies are also urged to contact Medway Trading Standards. The campaign is part of February’s Scams Awareness Month to help people avoid falling victim to scams, particularly the elderly and vulnerable. Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Enforcement Cllr Rehman Chishti said: “We have all received colourful letters promising us that we have won a prize, or making us a seemingly irresistible offer if we send money to an organisation. The advice is if it seems to good to be true, it usually is. “Less than five per cent of victims report the scams to the authorities, usually because they are embarrassed. But I want everyone who has been a victim to contact Medway Trading Standards with details of any scam mailings they receive so we can stop someone else becoming a victim of this illegal trade. “I am proud that Medway Council has one of the finest Trading Standards departments in the country and this demonstrates their hard work to protect the security and interests of people living here. “ If you think you have fallen victim of scam mail and would like impartial advice, please telephone Consumer Direct on 08454 040506, or visit one of the council’s officers. You can drop your scam mail at the following ‘Scamnesty’ drop-off points until Wednesday, 27 February: § All Medway Council libraries § The Civic Centre, Strood § The Compass Centre, Chatham Maritime § Sainsbury’s, Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre § Residents can also drop off letters at the Pentagon Shopping Centre in Chatham from Friday, 15 to Tuesday, 19 February Scamnesty is also being supported by local businesses in Medway. Papersafe UK has lent the council the secure bins for residents to deposit their information; Sainsbury’s at Hempstead Valley, the Pentagon Shopping Centre and Dockside Shopping Centre.